Remember New Year’s Eve 2019? As the clock struck midnight and you toasted 2020 with a glass of Dom Pérignon. A new year and a new start – Looking forward to the year ahead, a new job, a vacation, a wedding. Whatever you planned probably hasn’t happened. Instead your 2020 – so far – has been full of completely novel experiences: toilet paper panic buying, quarantines, social distancing, waiting on long lines to enter the grocery store – only to find nothing left on the shelves. Years are usually eulogised at their conclusion, but six months into 2020, this very special year is already being hailed as “the worst year ever.”
We regret to inform you that 2020 is not quite over, even though it feels like it’s been going on for half a century. This year is, for many people, the worst year of their lifetimes. This is in part because Covid-19 is not just an abstract news event happening in some distant part of the world. It is everywhere and has personally affected almost everyone.
For me, if there is one image that represents the weirdness and intensity of 2020, it’s this photo of a man riding the 7 train in New York City during his early morning commute to work – suited up in protective gear and carrying a spray bottle of sanitizer. Looking at his despairing facial expression, could he be wondering what’s in store for the next few months of 2020? What if the year gets worse?
One thing we can try to do is to see the good. Out of boredom comes creativity. Out of quarantine comes bonus time with family. Out of staying home comes a massive drop in air pollution. Out of activism comes changes for the better. We have become better parents, better spouses, better employees and better people.
Let's look forward to 2021 – to the end of Covid-19, to the end of hate and racism, to the end of murder hornets. To the start of rebuilding America – to a better future!
Photo Credit – Joseph Castro (my very talented nephew and amateur photographer)
As the first half of the year came to a close, the future seemed to hold nothing but uncertainty — about the pandemic, about November’s election, about the future of the country and the world.